Energy Analysis Newsletter — April/May 2010
Energy analysis at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) encompasses a broad range of energy analysis in support of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), NREL programs and initiatives, and the analysis community. Here is the latest news on energy analysis activities at NREL:
May Seminar Canceled
No seminar scheduled for May.
Upcoming Energy Analysis Seminars
- July 8, 2010 (Golden, Colorado)
"Renewable Energy Certificate Markets and Tracking" — Jan Hamrin (HMW International)
- August 12, 2010 (Washington, D.C.)
"Greenhouse Gas Implications of Deconstruction" — Elise Zelechowski (Delta Institute)
For more information on the seminar series — including log-in and call-in information for remote access — visit the Web site.
TAP Webinar: Web Mapping and Online GIS Applications
The Technical Assistance Project (TAP) for state and local officials will sponsor a Web seminar on May 26 that will discuss online tools for renewable energy. The presentation, which will be from 3 to 4:15 p.m. (EDT), is titled "Web Mapping and Online GIS Applications for Renewable Energy." State and local officials can learn about geographic information system (GIS) tools — available from the Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) — that can help augment renewable energy programs. Attendees will learn how to download maps and data for biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind resources and technologies. At this Webinar, NREL's Chris Helm and Ted Quinby will also provide an overview of all of the GIS tools available online at the laboratory.
You can register to attend the seminar, read about the presenter, and find links to background materials and reports on the TAP Section of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program Web site.
Publications and Web Sites
Some of the documents in this section are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs.
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Solar Power and the Electric Grid
NREL analysts recently published the fact sheet "Solar Power and the Electric Grid" (PDF 767 KB).
In today's electricity generation system, different resources make different contributions to the electricity grid. The grid maintains an instantaneous balance between supply and demand (generation and load) while moving electricity from generation source to customer. Because large amounts of electricity are difficult to store, the amount generated and fed into the system must be carefully matched to the load to keep the system operating. This fact sheet illustrates the roles of distributed and centralized renewable energy technologies, particularly solar power, and how they will contribute to the future electricity system. The advantages of a diversified mix of power generation systems are highlighted.
CSP and Storage
NREL's Paul Denholm and Ramteen Sioshansi of Ohio State University recently published the report "The Value of Concentrating Solar Power and Thermal Energy Storage" (PDF 555 KB).
This report examines the value of concentrating solar power (CSP) and thermal energy storage (TES) in four regions in the southwestern United States. The analysis shows that TES can increase the value of CSP by allowing more thermal energy from a CSP plant's solar field to be used, by allowing a CSP plant to accommodate a larger solar field, and by allowing CSP generation to be shifted to hours with higher energy prices. The analysis also examines the sensitivity of CSP value to a number of factors, including the optimization period, price and solar forecasting, ancillary service sales, capacity value and dry cooling of the CSP plant. The report also discusses the value of CSP plants and TES net of capital costs.
Photovoltaic R&D, Manufacturing, and Testing
SEAC analyst Robert Margolis and Charlie Coggeshall of New West Technologies recently published the report "Consortia Focused on Photovoltaic R&D, Manufacturing, and Testing: A Review of Existing Models and Structures" (PDF 568 KB).
As the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Solar Energy Technologies Program prepares to initiate a new cost-shared research and development (R&D) effort on photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing, it is useful to review the experience to date with consortia focused on PV R&D, manufacturing, and testing. Information was gathered for this report by conducting interviews and accessing Web sites of 14 U.S. consortia and four European consortia, each with either a primary focus on or an emerging interest in PV technology R&D, manufacturing, or testing. Additional input was collected from several workshops held by the DOE and National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2009, which examined the practical steps — including public-private partnerships and policy support — necessary to enhance the United States' capacity to competitively manufacture photovoltaics. This report categorizes the 18 consortia into three groups: university-led consortia, industry-led consortia, and manufacturing and testing facilities consortia. The first section summarizes the organizations within the different categories, with a particular focus on the key benefits and challenges for each grouping. The second section provides a more detailed overview of each consortium, including the origins, goals, organization, membership, funding sources, and key contacts. This survey is a useful resource for stakeholders interested in PV manufacturing R&D, but should not imply endorsement of any of these groups.
Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
SEAC analyst Garvin Heath presented to the National Research Council's (NRC's) Committee on Economic and Environmental Impacts of Increasing Biofuels Production. His topic was "Building uncertainties into modeling of direct life cycle greenhouse gas emissions, net energy and other environmental effects of biofuels." The meeting was attended by all 16 committee members, with presentations by three invited experts and five stakeholder groups. Representatives of sponsoring and participating agencies (e.g., U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Treasury, U.S. DOE), stakeholder groups, and members of the public also attended. A copy of the presentation is available through the NRC public access records office. A report based on the committee findings is expected to be produced by June 2011.
SEAC hosted 40 electric utility executives and managers from throughout the country in an NREL Analysis Roundtable meeting. The meeting featured presentations on the forthcoming Renewable Electricity Futures study as well as snapshots of other SEAC analysis work. These topics included analysis of proposed clean energy legislation, markets for renewable energy credits, and sustainability analysis. SEAC presenters included James Newcomb, Maureen Hand, Trieu Mai, Greg Brinkman, Jeff Logan, Lori Bird, and Garvin Heath.
For the latest updates on information regarding energy analysis, visit the Energy Analysis Web site.